Life Is Eventful: How Getting Out There Got Me Here

Change is good.

The Fetch Blog

We’re taught from a very young age that there are certain major life events that will have significant importance and deliver at least a modicum of respect. Being born (though you aren’t quite aware of that one), graduating from college, getting married, having children, buying a house, turning 50, etc. These are the Events with a capital ‘E’.

What no one really tells you, however, is the way the other kind of events will impact your life. These events will present the opportunity for learning, fun, and personal growth. Occasionally they will offer you a few hours of complete anonymity, and with it the extraordinary chance to be whoever you want.

When you scan The Fetch each week, deciding which events you’d like to attend, you never know how they will go. You could meet a new friend, make a new connection that leads to a new job, or find the perfect person with…

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Post Script: Strike Three Your Dead – R. D. Rosen

Strike Three Your Dead
R. D. Rosen
Open Road Integrated Media
ISBN: 9781453290422

Synopsis (Open Road Integrated Media)

A slugger struggles with an empty ballpark and a murdered teammate.
The Providence Jewels, an American League expansion team, have been taking a beating all season. Worse, relief pitcher Rudy Furth has just suffered a beating of a more lethal kind—and been left to die in the clubhouse whirlpool among whispers of mob corruption and violently lovesick fans.

When the police investigation stalls, veteran Providence center fielder Harvey Blissberg, who knew Furth as well as anyone, decides to play detective. While trying to keep his eye on the ball, and his head above water with the spunky, beautiful sports newscaster Mickey Slavin, Blissberg quietly stalks Furth’s killer through major-league locker rooms and the dark streets of Rhode Island’s capital city. Lots of ballplayers keep their batting averages above .300—but how many have chased a murderer at the same time?

My View:

An interesting read, the narrative is well crafted, the characters real and sympathetic. This murder/mystery transcends the world of, or knowledge of, American baseball. I know nothing of baseball and yet was able to enjoy and immerse myself in Harvey Blissberg’s world, hats off to the author for creating such a believable cast and script.

Blissberg is a character we can all identify with – he has strength of mind, determination, he is successful, he is the likable boy next door and a lover and a friend – a complex character. He is driven by the doubt that just maybe he wasn’t the friend that he thought he was that he should have been. His guilt drives him to seek answers that the police have not been able to provide him; Bliss turns detective.

All in all a good read, a  satisfying read and one that leaves you yearning for the further adventures of Harvey Blissberg.

It is hard to believe that this book was written and published so long ago (originally in 1984 by Walker and Company), and won an Edgar Award in 1985 for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America. What an accolade. And well deserved. I look forward to discovering the next books in this series and following the adventures of Bliss.

My Work and My New Blog

Hi All

As I may have hinted about this in the past; I work in Australian film and television. These days I predominantly work on documentaries – in various roles – production accounting ( handling the money or lack of 🙂 ), production support, Associate Producer and on the latest job I am  a co -producer. It is the latest job I am most excited about –   I  strongly believe that this film should be made and viewed and  that maybe people power can make changes. More about  the subject of the film later.

I am making this film with a highly regarded and award winning documentary maker Janine Hosking. I have known and worked with Janine for about ten years.  Wish us well in our pursuit.

Thus far the film really has no budget  to speak of – it is being made through the generous donations  from so many people who share in our vision.  This seed funding has allowed us to start up this  production – the story of Angelique Flowers.

Briefly this is our film: 35 Letters

35 Letters- Angelique Flowers

This is the story of an ordinary life with an extraordinary ending Angelique Flowers was the girl next door; the daughter, the sister, the aunty, the student. She loved the Bronte sisters and Shakespeare. She posed for photographs on Oscar Wildes’ tombstone. She baked scones. She watched the Biggest Loser. An aspiring writer, Angelique planned to write a novel.  She wrote letters to her sister Michelle who lives in Canada.  She wrote a total of 35 letters to mark Michelle’s 35th birthday; a birthday she subconsciously knew she would never be able to share with her.  This is a story we share with you, of simple things: of the joy freshly baked biscuits hot from the oven, of clouds, of dreams and family birthdays, of song lyrics that make you laugh, make you cry, of hope and of the joy of the every day.  Angelique alludes to her ill health, she never dwells on it. If you blink you miss the clues….blink again her life is over.

I am just starting a new blog to celebrate the making of the film,  please take a look and follow our journey.

http://behindthescenesthemakingof35lettersdocumentary.wordpress.com

A Bitch Called Hope- Review Goes Australia Wide

I am thrilled to announce that my review of  A  Bitch Called Hope by Lily Gardner is being published by the Australian magazine Good Reading . The review will be included in the June edition of the magazine.

I am so excited. Thanks Lily for writing such a well crafted and engaging read with a strong and likable female protagonist and thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Diversion Books, for giving me the opportunity to read and review this novel.  Lily I am looking forward to the next installment.

Post Script: Dogstar Rising – Parker Bilal

Dogstar Rising, Parker Bilal

Dogstar Rising

A Makana Mystery

Parker Bilal

Bloomsbury

ISBN: 9781408827857

Description:

It is the summer of 2001 and the heat is rising in Cairo’s crowded streets. Makana has been hired to investigate threats that have been made to a hapless travel agent and he finds himself drawn to Meera, a woman who knows what it is like to lose everything and needs his help. Meanwhile, the brutal unsolved murders of a number of young homeless boys are fanning the embers of religious hatred. The finger of blame is being pointed at the Coptic community and as tensions start to mount Makana has a premonition that history may be about to repeat itself. It is ten years since Makana fled his home in Sudan and yet the past seems to be trying to lay claim to him again, this time in the form of Mo Damazeen, a dubious businessman who claims to be in possession of a powerful secret. When Makana witnesses a brutal killing he finds himself attracting the attention of both the state security services and an old and dangerous gangster family. His search for answers takes him from the labyrinth of Cairo to the ancient city of Luxor and an abandoned monastery in the desert, into a web of intrigue and violence.

 

My View:

A gritty, bleak and uncompromising look at crime, corruption, poverty and politics set in Cairo in the summer of 2001.  A slow build to a tension that is palpable. This is the first crime novel I have read set in Cairo, I found the descriptions incredibly realistic; the grimy streets, the street urchins, the often bedraggled and bloodied Makana, the trains, markets and buildings all come alive – Bilal writes great descriptive prose however I was often distracted by the use of local idiom that mostly lacked meaning for me, sometimes the language was explained, mostly it wasn’t. I found myself skipping over sentences and phrases as I tried but failed to gain insight into some of the expressions presented to me.  This I found distracting.

The narrative is bleak and depressing.  Cairo is presented as a city of corruption, of fear; a world  full of conspiracies and State Security officers and informants on every corner, where people are afraid to talk, of making comments, of speaking out.  I found the tone depressing and repressive. For me there was not even a satisfying conclusion to uplift this story, just more fear and violence and death. I can’t say I enjoyed this read.  I mostly struggled with this text; maybe I like my crime fiction to be a little less realistic, less bleak, a little less despotic and a little more optimistic.  I did not ‘escape to’ or embrace this world of corruption and despair; I wanted to run very fast away from it.  A powerful read.

Day Five Green Juice Challenge

Today I juiced an ingredient  I haven’t tried juicing before- capsicum (bell pepper).

Recipe 

1 or 2 crisp Granny Smith apples

1/2 green Capsicum

2 stems Silver Beet

Juice all ingredients – drink immediately. This one is not bad 🙂

I think when juicing you need a variety of recipes and ingredients – for taste, nutrition  and to prevent boredom. Organic is best is you can source. Home grown fresh picked – YUM!

Do you have a recipe you want to share?

Post Script: Questions of Travel – Michelle de Kretser

Questions of Travel

A Novel

Michelle de Kretser

Little, Brown and Company

ISBN: 9780316219228

Description:

Laura Fraser grows up in Sydney, motherless, with a cold father and an artistic bent. Ravi Mendes is on the other side of the world–his humble father dead, his mother struggling, determined to succeed in computer science. Their stories alternate throughout Michelle de Kretser’s ravishing new novel, culminating in unlikely fates for them both, destinies influenced by travel–voluntary in her case, enforced in his.

With money from an inheritance, Laura sets off to see the world, returning to Sydney to work for a travel guide. There she meets Ravi, a Sri Lankan political exile who wants only to see a bit of Australia and make a living. Where do these disparate characters truly belong? With her trademark subtlety, wit, and dazzling prose, Michelle de Kretser shows us that, in the 21st century, they belong wherever they want to and can be–home or away.

My View :

This is a stand out read. This is the best contemporary novel I have read in many a year.

Remarkable insights to life and modern living, of identity, of travel; a multifaceted book, so many issues, so much probing and the pricking of conscience.

This is a modern day story told from the perspectives of the two main characters, Laura and Ravi, both living and surviving in a modern world where technology and globalism rule. Both characters give the outwards appearance of coping, of being, of having purpose but they are both lost,  they are both just marking time trying to figure out who they are , where/what is home and where do they belong whilst asking the question “what does the future hold?”

I disagree with the above description of Ravi supplied on NetGalley – Ravi is not “a political exile just wanting to see a bit of Australia and make a living.” That description is trite and superficial and untrue. Ravi is not on holiday.  Ravi was a victim of the political persecutions in Sri Lanka, he didn’t want to be in Australia, he only wanted freedom from fear and to have the past undone. He was a victim of the atrocities in Sri Lanka, of the corruption in governments and authorities, of a country living in fear.  He is trapped in a world where ugly visions of death permeate his very existence, (p.211) “ Ravi remembered stories that had hung over their bed in light, smothering folds:  sons set on fire, daughters raped with broken bottles, brothers who had gone to a police station and never returned.” And the reality of violence is no longer something that happens to others.  Ravi is a very empathetic character; I loved his descriptions of home and of his vision of Australia.

Laura is lost, looking for meaning, looking for acceptance, but she hides it well; she travels, is she travelling to or is she escaping from? She often asks herself “What are you doing here?”  She may as well have asked who is Laura Fraser, (p. 186) “ She was sharing a flat in Kentish Town and freelancing…when people asked where she lived, she would say London. But she might have replied, just as truthfully, that she lived in hotel rooms and gate lounges, in taxis and planes…She was inert, strapped into place, yet hurtling and fast forwarded. She could lay claim to two passports and three email addresses, she was between destinations, she was virtual, she was online, she was on the phone….Laura Fraser was a late twentieth – century global person.  Geography was beside the point.”  How astute, how true of a lot of our lives. Laura also comments (p.312) “Tourism is about dollars, no argument. But ‘travel’ lets you pretend. Travel has an aura. It allows us to believe publishing guidebooks, is you know, a good thing. We tell ourselves that what we do contributes to global harmony, international understanding, you now the stuff i mean. It’s understood without being spelled out.”

This book has so much to offer and so much to debate. But do not be deceived this book also has many moments of light and of humour.

I loved the description of the dog called “Fair Play” who (p.252) “detested all other dogs, loved Lefty. Devotion required her to tug with all her strength on his cheek. There was also standing under Lefty’s belly, reaching out her muzzle and sinking her teeth into his neck. Lefty, a romantic, was tolerant of these coquettish manoeuvres and only occasionally sat on her head.”   I just love this description – it is so realistic it fills my face with a smile.

I predict this novel will be read by many. This novel will find itself on the reading lists of many academic classes – in Social Science rooms, in Women’s Studies classes, in Australian Literature courses, it has so much to offer, so many reflections on life, and so many truisms are shared.

Every traveler should read this book. Yet it is a book not just for travelers or tourists. This book made me think.  This book made me smile. This book disturbed me.  What a gift Michelle de Kretser has; the ability to share with us her words which evoke such strong emotions and stimulate thought, this book is amazing and the best contemporary fiction I have read in years.

Day Three Green Juice Fast

Today is day three of my green juice challenge – today I unintentionally added Intermittent Fasting to my diet ( actually I have been so busy with work I “missed” my lunch) . So today I did the intermittent fast – which means I have had nothing but red tea (rooibos) and a couple of cups of coffee since breakfast and now it is almost 4.30 pm here, I may as well wait,  just hold on till dinner time to eat ( though my stomach is starting to complain that it  is hungry!) .

Some good news – I think I have talked my sister into seeing the benefits of juicing, she has just ordered a slow juicer and is willing to give juicing a try.  And I stood on the scales this morning, there has been a small but definite weight loss. 🙂

Image: The Greens I should have had today.

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Day Two Green Juice Challange

The Challenge gets easier the longer you are on it ; by day two you are more organised, you have your veggies washed and cut and stored in containers in the fridge, your juicer is on the kitchen bench – ready for action.

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My Favorite Green Juice Recipe:

1 Apple

2 stalks Celery

A quarter of lemon – skin on (adjust to taste/size of lemon)

Two Silver Beet leaves

I  or 2 Kale leaves

1/2 Cucumber